Doctors see high mortality in virus fight in Philippines, Indonesia

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Doctors are accounting for a large proportion of deaths from Covid-19 in the Philippines and Indonesia, two of the most medically under-served nations in Southeast Asia.

At least 26 doctors have died in Indonesia out of the country’s toll of 240 while in the Philippines about a dozen have passed away among the 182 fatalities, according to the latest government data. Total infections range from 3,000 to 4,000 in each country.

The high mortality of medical practitioners in the region’s two most populous countries shows the challenge they face combating the pandemic with testing and health-care systems lagging neighbors such as Singapore.

The Philippines, which has locked down its main island of 60 million people since mid-March, had warned it may see 75,000 infections by June if no interventions were made. Indonesia expects cases to peak at 95,000 next month.

Indonesia has just 4.27 doctors for every 10,000 people while the Philippines has 6, according to the World Health Organization. In Thailand, where there are 8 doctors for every 10,000 people, about 80 health workers have been infected including 16 physicians and 36 nurses.

Malaysia has 181 medical workers who have been infected through travel and personal interactions and not from treating patients. In Vietnam, 2 doctors and 2 nurses have tested positive for the coronavirus. — Bloomberg